National Association of State Retirement Administrators


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that state and local governments added an estimated 129,000 jobs in March 2021, which is the sharpest rate of increase in at least 15 years. State governments were responsible for 46,000 of the March increase, with local governments responsible for the remaining 83,000. Updates to prior months' data added 48,000 state and local government jobs to the running total. Since peaking in February 2020, state and local governments have shed nearly 1.2 million jobs, or approximately 6.2 percent of their total.

The BLS identifies approximately 18.7 million employees of state and local government as of March 2021. Local governments, which include most school districts, account for nearly three-quarters of total state and local employment, with state governments accounting for around one-quarter of the total. Overall, state and local employment accounts for approximately 13 percent of the nation's workforce.

The private sector added an estimated 780,000 jobs in March 2021.

The charts below present the relative changes in state and local government and private sector employment since 2007.

Monthly changes in state and local government
and private sector employment, 2007-2021

Monthly changes in state and local government employment, 2007-2021

Compiled by NASRA based on data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data is sourced from the BLS Current Employment Statistics program, which is a monthly survey of households, businesses, and governments measuring employment, hours, and earnings estimates. The CES survey reference period is the pay period that includes the 12th day of the month. Data are published on a preliminary basis and revised twice before being finalized. 

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